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Perverts abound in this world. Bystanders need to keep their eyes and ears open to protect others from molestation. Bystander intervention is important.
I have crossed my 30s and my health has started making some noise now. So I have started avoiding my luxurious airconditioned corporate bus, in which huge glass windows allowed me to watch the outside world but restricted any feelings towards it, and have started walking to the station to catch my usual local train. It has become quite a routine now.
Trigger warning: This post contains some explicit descriptions of violence against women and paedophilia that could be disturbing for some readers.
A couple of days ago, in morning, I left my house at 7.30 as usual. I took my road, plugged in my earphones and merrily humming, started walking towards the railway station.
An old man was walking in front of me with a merry gait. He looked like any of our grandfathers/fathers would look. Utterly normal. A girl of around 13-14 passed by and suddenly his gait changed as he glanced at her. I am quite observant that way and I had plenty of time. (I anyway, am never in hurry to reach office. Never).
The girl began looking at her phone and slowed down, and I observed that the man slowed his pace too. Now while the city is bustling in the morning, this particular road hardly had any walkers that early. I stopped on the road and waited for some time, because my strides are long and I didn’t want to overtake either of them (Yeah call me a stalker, but I stalk when I smell fish).
Slowly, when the man realized that the girl wasn’t looking at him he walked right beside her, very close and started touching his crotch staring at her. The girl noticed and started walking faster. By this time I had fastened my pace again. The man, ACTUALLY, looked around, saw not many people around and flashed himself, and was about to go behind and touch her, when I walked right in front of him and pushed him. He fell on the road, and bewildered, looked at the girl and then at me.
The girl was almost in tears. The man zipped himself and ran away. Before I could run behind him and take him to the police, he had taken an auto and vanished.
I will regret that I didn’t hold him by the collar and slap him hard across his face.
I will regret I didn’t intervene earlier.
I will regret the scars the girl will take home with her.
I will regret I wasted too much time contemplating.
I will regret I thought that the man won’t do any harm until he did.
I will regret I wasted precious minutes because I wasn’t sure what I thought I was looking at was real or not. I am still agonising over those lost minutes.
The girl whispered a thanks to me and held my hand. It was a sad moment. A very sad moment when she said she didn’t know what to do. I said scream. We had had a conversation just the night before in a group of close friends. I told her scream aloud. Kick. Throw stones. Kick him in the groin. Scream. Scream. Scream.
That our girls are not safe is a fact. That we, as women and men of society need to keep a keen watch around us is a fact. Even at the little kids who are not our own. We need to keep a watch. Most of the times these incidents remain a backdrop to our miserable lives. Most of the times someone is being harassed right beside us and we are in too much hurry to notice. Most of the times our indifference also stems from the total distrust of another person. There is a need of systemic study of these people to understand what makes them do it. In order to weed them out, we must study them, carefully.
Till that time, I hope the parents of the girl do not scold her for being ‘careless’, or ask her to stop going to school/college from the next day, or say that it was her fault that she didn’t pay attention. I hope they take her in their arms and tell her that this world sucks and it wasn’t she who was responsible but the man who violated her.
I am sorry we live in a society where little children are not safe and women have to keep their weapons out all the time and wear their armor every second of the day as if every day is a war. It was never our responsibility.
But now, women, we’ve got to stand up for each other, and not think a lot before taking a stand against perverts. It is the only thing that matters. At this moment. Scream. Shout. Kick hard. Throw your bags in their faces. Scream. Shout.
I am sorry, it’s hard typing this down, so please excuse any incoherence. I started writing this in the morning. My blood is still boiling. It is a fucking hard world out there women and my little ones, we’ve got to fight it hard. Please. This is a serious appeal.
Published here earlier.
Image source: pixabay